Locals celebrate new Waikato expressway

By foot or pedal-power, crowds gathered to check out an 8km-long new section of the Waikato Expressway at its official opening on Saturday.

Motorists will reap the biggest rewards from the $2.4 billion, four-lane highway north of Hamilton, but yesterday it was pedestrians and cyclists who were given the chance to see the new Te Rapa link-up on State Highway 1.

Prime Minister John Key cut the ribbon on the road yesterday, and the road will open to motorists tomorrow.

The link's opening comes two-and-a-half years after the project began.

A New Zealand Transport Agency spokesperson said the link would ease traffic congestion coming into Hamilton from the north. And the entire 102km expressway from Bombay Hills to Cambridge will, when complete, cut travel times between Auckland and Tirau by 35 minutes. The improvements are also expected to cut the number of fatal and injury crashes.

- Hamilton News

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